On The Nature Of Fandom.

Posted: 15/09/2010 in General

Admit it, we’re all fans of something. Irrespective of our subcultural and individual predispositions, there is something which, at some stage, has caught our attention and held it, and, given that leverage, reeled in our imagination, admiration, and intractable loyalty in that approximate order. These objects of our attention can be animate (or indeed physical) or not, any colour you like, and range in subjectively-perceived virtue from here to way the hell over there.
We’ll stand in line for days to see/get, defend to our last breath, and clamour to be in the immediate vicinity of, that which we admire. It fits some parts of the definition of insanity, yet to be observed in the proportion of people that it is, it can’t be interpreted as anything but normal human behaviour.

So. What is it? What drives it? Why are people fanatical about all of these people, objects, even abstract concepts like “42”?

It’s because these people, these things, quite literally play a part in improving the quality of our lives, and we love them for it. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly from a holistic perspective, they give us something to burn our spare otherwise-cobwebbed CPU cycles, and, much more importantly, our excess in-built passions and our need to believe out on, rather than becoming obsessed with something harmful like fringe fundamentalism & going and invading some poor sap for having the wrong number of legs on his spidergoat-god statue. Or something.

We are all in our hearts ideologues. Those of us that don’t find something harmless to follow as an ideology become a problem in society. We become in-your-face zealots, a pain in the bum to all we encounter. We obsess about causes, get into cults, join pyramid marketing schemes, or in extreme cases we go and get PhDs in something so massively esoteric that we become utterly disconnected from the rest of society. Spare belief is ultimately very destructive. Human passion (sensu lato; the more narrow vernacular sense of the phrase requires no explanation, and if you’re inclined to disagree there are most certainly blogs for that) needs to be spent on something. It would be called a flaw if it weren’t for the axiom that all morphology is functional – that every shred of our makeup has a purpose, however obscure.

So, we yell at football teams (and yell louder at the refs, the mugs), argue in a violent & diametric fashion over whether Ford or Holden enjoys God’s favour (and indeed which make he drove at Bathurst back in ’71 – Ford, for the record), we read every word ever written by our favourite author & quote the funny bits to anyone who’ll listen, and we couldn’t possibly miss our soaps. It’s no coincidence that church attendance has gone down as opportunities for other such outlets have increased a thousandfold. Irrespective of what your position on religion is (and I make no judgement nor do I indicate a viewpoint in so saying), it’s becoming redundant as an ideological catharsis. Besides, people at the football don’t tell you how to live your lives. Not with any particular authority, in any case.

The moral, then, is not to trust your time to anyone who’s not prepared to “waste” some of their own on casual pursuits. Don’t complain about someone who attempts to evangelise you into devotion to their footy team. Because it could be worse…..

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